How to get motivated

(Just kidding, that sh*t’s impossible right now)

Pxhere | Photo courtesy
Me, sleeping peacefully, through two noon deadlines.

It’s a quiet Wednesday night. By Friday, I have a paper, two projects, an exam and probably an existential crisis to get done. There are currently about 64 projects I have started in my apartment and not finished and I’m currently contemplating buying a third laundry hamper rather than doing a single load of laundry.

At this exact moment, there are about 200 different productive things I could be doing, but I currently only have the mental capacity to mentally order which establishments have the best quality Sprite (personally, I think McDonald’s Sprite is the crispiest, and if you don’t know what I mean we can’t be friends anymore).

Finding enough motivation to just leave my room is hard enough, let alone finishing all the toughest assignments that seem to come near semesters-end. True story: I picked a pillow up off the floor and put it on my bed yesterday and rewarded myself with a two-hour nap. So the chances of me finishing that project on survey analysis? About the same as the likelihood that Emma Watson finally answers my DMs on Instagram (she’s busy alright, it could still happen).

I know I’m not the only one struggling here. I’ve seen fellow students up until four in the morning doing homework when the will to get something accomplished finally graces them. A personal favorite is the daily videos an NDSU student posts on Snapchat of them screaming into a pillow while doing biology.

If students are struggling, I’d have to imagine professors are struggling too. The only thing worse than writing an essay on the American dream riddled with ramblings reminiscent of a sleep-deprived toddler is reading thirty essays on the American dream riddled with ramblings reminiscent of a sleep-deprived toddler. I feel for you, Rooth.

Students and teachers alike have it rough right now. So the best thing anybody can do is be understanding.

A big shout-out to all the students assisting one another, helping with homework questions and being patient when your friend who promised to send you their lecture notes (me, probably) and is sending them over a few days late. And a bigger-shout out to the professors who recognize that this semester should not be about grades.

NDSU extending the pass-fail deadline is awesome. An institution that recognizes that just passing a class in the midst of a nationwide shutdown is accomplishment enough is surprisingly refreshing. Add to that, professors who have eased up on the workload for the rest of the semester and I might just find religion through all of this, because angels are real.

On the other hand, to the professors who are requiring the same level of excellence from students trying to piece together your twenty part assignment from that one corner of their garage that has Wifi, not to ruin my argument with the colloquial or anything, but could you please chill out? People have more important things to worry about, like a literal global emergency, than your proud title of professionally indifferent jerk.

I understand that years of poor student reviews and that 1 out of 5 on Rate-My-Professor is really getting to you, but many students are going through worse than a personal crisis of character, and a little understanding at this time is all that is needed.

However, that same level of understanding needs to be given not only to others but to ourselves too. While I don’t personally recommend fully succumbing to the dark side of laziness; lush with its riches of wearing the same outfit for an entire week, eating handfuls of dry cereal and watching hours of Tiktoks via Facebook because you hate yourself, there are some things to be said for taking things one step at a time.

This whole lockdown started with people, in a haze of their capitalist and entitled upbringing, insisting that all this ‘free’ time was the perfect opportunity to start a business, learn a new skill, or finally write that book (catch my book out this summer, Realizing No Amount of Time Will Make You the Next Hemingway: A Series of Personal Essays). 

Instead, most people realized that being without friends, structure and reliable access to toilet paper isn’t conducive to changing your life. It turns out that dream of being a hermit we used to have as middle schoolers in the age of Tumblr, not going to school or work, avoiding people at all costs and having 24-hour access to Rick and Morty is only a dream if your goal is to have B.O. and vitamin C deficiency, not if you want any semblance of happiness.

There’s not a lot of advice I can give on this topic. This isn’t one of those one-size-fits-all formulas to stay motivated that are floating around the internet right now. Staying motivated isn’t concern number one, personally, it’s like concern number 43, right in between planning my imaginary Tokyo Disney vacation and wondering if they sell any grilled cheese costumes small enough to fit my cat.

Students: all I can say is that I’m here for you in spirit. May the will to get something done come at least once a week and may it be long enough to get you through that one assignment that’s worth 30 percent of your grade.

Professors: have pity on us students. Some of us are stronger than others, but some of us are pathetic, shame gremlins that struggle to come out of our Pringles and Dr. Pepper stupor without constant social interaction. Please be gentle with us.

With any luck, we’ll get through this together, not as new and better people, but as worn and sorrowful comrades that have been through something horribly embarrassing that we won’t ever want to talk about again. And hey, if you didn’t drink a bottle of bleach, start the hashtag #NorthDakotaSmart about ending a lockdown, or protest your right to go get your beard professionally trimmed. In the grand scheme of things, you’re not doing so bad, right? 

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